Essay on Analysis of Women Rights in Leaves of Grass

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In 1855 when the first edition of Leaves of Grass was published, the first Women’s Convention had already taken place in Seneca Falls. According to Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass is a women’s book. In the epigraph of Sherry Ceniza’s Walt Whitman and 19th-century women reformers she quotes him having said “Leaves of Grass I essentially a woman’s book: the women do it know it, but every now and then a woman shows that she knows it” (Ceniza). The implication here combined with the text in Song of Myself suggest a phenomenon that is all too common. Whitman is seen as and sees himself as a poet beyond racial and gender distinctions but like many in a position of privilege, their appropriation of the pain felt by these opposed groups serves only …show more content…
In 1855 when the first edition of Leaves of Grass was published, the first Women’s Convention had already taken place in Seneca Falls. According to Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass is a women’s book. In the epigraph of Sherry Ceniza’s Walt Whitman and 19th-century women reformers she quotes him having said “Leaves of Grass I essentially a woman’s book: the women do it know it, but every now and then a woman shows that she knows it” (Ceniza). The implication here combined with the text in Song of Myself suggest a phenomenon that is all too common. Whitman is seen as and sees himself as a poet beyond racial and gender distinctions but like many in a position of privilege, their appropriation of the pain felt by these opposed groups serves only to make these communities feel uncomfortable. Throughout Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself he represents women in varying ways. In some instances he equalizes them, making them on par with men in his eyes, similar to what he does with the slave. In other passages he defends and honors them from the demeaning words and actions of other countrymen. Despite some of his more receptive passages about women and their place in society there are times when what Whitman says is problematic in the context of women’s rights. Whitman’s dynamic representation of women in Song of Myself points to the fact that while he imagines himself a forward thinking male, a champion of women’s rights in some instances he cannot help but put women back where they have
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